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Ambulance Service staffing levels undermines acute services review

September 26, 2008 10:28 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has obtained information from the North West Ambulance Service under the Freedom of Information Act which shows huge holes in paramedic provision in the South Lakes.

The data, for June 2007 and June 2008 shows the number of ambulances staffed only by technicians - who cannot administer certain life-saving drugs - had risen significantly in Grange, Ambleside and Kendal over the last twelve months. This is in marked contrast to promises made by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust during the recent acute medical services review that the Ambulance Service could take the strain of the closure of acute medical services at Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital.

Mr Farron said: "The fact that the number of ambulances without paramedics is rising completely undermines the trust's argument that it was safe to proceed with the acute services review, which means that heart and stroke patients from some remote South Lakeland communities have to endure long journeys to hospital in Lancaster or Barrow in the back of an ambulance.

"We were told an extra ambulance would be available 24-7 and that extra staff had been recruited yet look at the statistics. If you have a heart attack and you are among the percentage of patients who don't have access to a paramedic during the journey to hospital, is it just unlucky?

"The situation needs to get an awful lot better and we were promised by the hospitals' trust that it would be an awful lot better before anyone moved forward with closing wards."